Feeding on Tradition: Thanksgiving Eve at the Reading Terminal Market

story by Michael Holahan | illustration by Andy Hood

As a shopkeeper in the Reading Terminal Market, any busy day is a good day. But after 25 years at the Pennsylvania General Store, my favorite is the day before Thanksgiving. The energy inside this more-than-a-century-old public market is unlike any other time of year. Thanksgiving is about bringing together the people we love, to share a meal and to give thanks; as a merchant, it’s a privilege to be even a small part of this occasion.

That Wednesday morning, customers wait outside for the Market to open, making shopping strategies while sipping coffee provided by Market management. While it’s a busy day for us at the General Store, there’s a lot more pressure on the big three: the butcher, baker and greengrocer. Inside the market, the greengrocers hurriedly stack towering mounds of collard greens, the butchers ice down freshly-killed turkeys and the Pennsylvania Dutch bakers try to find room to display all their pies.

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Recycling Challenge: Vinyl Records

story by Samantha WittchenFact

Last year, 3.9 million vinyl records were sold in the U.S., the highest amount since 1991.

Problem

With vinyl records making a resurgence, you might be thinking twice about tossing those old 45s. But if you do trash them, the landfill is not the best place. Most old-school vinyl records are made with Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). When buried, PVC can leak dioxin, a toxic chemical that can contaminate groundwater. Since dioxins are fat-soluble, they concentrate in human tissue. Additionally, chlorine production for new vinyl manufacturing releases more than 200,000 pounds of mercury into our air, water and soil each year. Recycling vinyl bypasses that chlorine use.

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Cheese of the Month: Blue de Ewe

It's rare to find a raw sheep’s milk blue outside the Roquefort Caves in France. But Pennsylvania can now make this claim, thanks to two Amish farmers, shepherd Emanuel Beiler and cheesemaker Amos Miller. Beiler, who raises sheep in Lancaster County, wanted to add value to his milk; Miller, who makes a variety of artisan cheeses at his Leola dairy—Misty Creek—likes to experiment. This summer, they released their collaborative endeavor under the Shepherd’s Hollow Farm label, which is distributed by Farm Fromage—an intermediary for Amish dairy.
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Sweet Tarts: Three ways to enjoy delicious cranberries

Story and photos by Marisa McClellanI was seven years old when I first cooked with fresh cranberries. My mom had gone to a library sale and brought home a pair of books called Cranberry Thanksgiving and Cranberry Christmas. While I wasn’t particularly interested in the stories inside the books, I was intrigued by the recipes printed on the back.

After much begging, my parents relented and helped me bake a loaf of cranberry bread. I loved the way the tart berries popped in the tender, slightly sweet bread. Since then, cranberries have had a firm place in my top 10 favorite ingredients, and I’m determined to show that they’re good for a whole lot more than jelly and juice.

I’m always looking for ways to use fresh cranberries. I stir them into baked goods, add them to braises, scatter them over roasting vegetables, and even pickle them for cheese platters and cocktails. They give a fatty braised pork butt a tangy, fruity counterpoint. The combination of roasted butternut squash and cranberries makes for a sweet/tart side dish. And the combination of berries, sugar, vinegar and spices is wonderfully electric on the tongue.

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Talking Turkey: Fair Food offering local bird options for this year’s Thanksgiving table

Turkey time is almost here! Once again, Fair Food has plenty of local, sustainable (and delicious) options for celebrating your holiday. Choose from naturally-raised and Heirloom Bronze turkeys from Koch’s Turkey Farm (Tamaqua, Pa.), certified organic birds from Lancaster Farm Fresh (Leola, Pa.), and Heritage Breed Red Bourbons from Griggstown Quail Farm (Princeton, N.J.). If you fancy other birds, Griggstown also offers capon, quail, goose and pheasant.

These fresh (never frozen) fowl all are hormone- and antibiotic-free, and raised with access to pasture. Prices range from $3.10 to $8.40 per pound. Pre-ordering is required and can be done through the Fair Food website (fairfoodphilly.org). The ordering deadline is Monday, Nov. 12 at 12 p.m. Turkeys will be available for pick up on November 21 and 22, the Tuesday and Wednesday before the holiday.

Pointing to the Past: The honey locust remains prepared to fend off long- extinct creatures

story by Bernard Brown l photo by flickr user over_the_rainbow

What amazed me most about the honey locust trees at Awbury Arboretum were the thorns. I had imagined something like rose thorns—sharp, but proportional—not four-inch-long spikes jutting out from branches and erupting from trunks in grotesque, savage clusters. Surely this was overkill. The trees could fend off deer with much less.

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The Latin Road Home: Jose Garces’ recipe for salmorejo from the November cover

Our November cover story features Chef Jose Garces and the farm he recently opened alongside his home in Ottsville, Pa. In the article, Garces talks about a salmorejo he makes with tomatoes from his farm. The recipe, which he shared with us below, is taken from his new cookbook The Latin Road Home (Lake Isle Press, Oct. 2012; $35). Read the full cover story here. 

Salmorejo: Gazpacho with Strawberries, Eggs and Olives

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